|By: Jim Virkler; ©2013|
Our personal theology involves far-ranging beliefs concerning fundamental realities about God. There is no aspect of life unrelated to theology because God is Creator of everything. Man’s ability to consider theology sets us far above all other life forms. The Image of God, possessed uniquely by humanity, enables us to contemplate the existence of God. This includes God’s essence and his attributes. We are also able to contemplate how God relates to man, the summit of his creation, through the physical dimension. Theology, then, expands our knowledge far beyond the essence of God. Theology relates to our interaction with God’s physical creation. Humanity is embedded in God’s physical creation. We are subject to the “rules of the game” for the operation of God’s physical creation. God is the author of those rules.
Our last few posts have dealt with questions of how we function in our God-authored physical creation in view of a startling reality--life’s temporary existence. Our recent topic--senescence--is one of the least pleasant to contemplate. Instead, our attention focuses on life, how we may improve it, and how we may make life more effective and enjoyable. The medical profession stresses healthy life. Newspaper obituaries spotlight mostly the life of the deceased. The temporary nature of all life from the human level down through the millions of species inhabiting earth is a fundamental reality of existence in our universe. Throughout our reportage of the phenomenon of senescence, it has become apparent that the term is under-reported and unfamiliar. As a society we highlight healthy life and the healthy state of existence. We avoid death; we abhor senescence.
Life, earth’s most unique characteristic, is temporary. By contrast, matter and energy seem more permanent. The structural organization of particles since shortly after the Big Bang creation event seems more permanent in this created cosmos, having been present for billions of years. We find ourselves asking, “What’s wrong with this picture?” On careful study, we answer, “Nothing.” The God of Creation authored and supervised the picture.
In view of the temporary nature of life in this created cosmos and the relatively permanent nature of matter and energy, we ask, “Has the divine master plan for the operation of our universe has been turned upside down?” As we study God’s initially established laws for the physical operation of our created universe, and the manner in which the physical laws of our universe have been carried out to this very moment, our science/faith blog confidently answers, “No.” We caution that this issue has been and continues to be one of disagreement and dispute within the church. Perhaps the issue is more a disagreement of interpretation than one of actual doctrine.
Of the many dimensions of this question, we briefly offer a few of the most significant responses. First, over the geological history of earth, senescence and death of countless creatures over eons of time has resulted in abundant good in terms of the plentiful resources of our planet to power today’s physical existence. It was created a “very good” earth according to God (Gen 1:31). Second, God provides benefits to man, including opportunities for work, personal endurance, and mastery over life’s hardships. Third, our created dimensions of space and time have a higher purpose in providing a prelude for a much “greater good” to follow--the eventual defeat of sin. Fourth, scripture tells us redemption was in the heart of God “before the beginning of time” (I Cor. 2:7, Eph. 1:4, Tit. 1:3, II Tim. 1:9 NIV). We infer God did not create a permanent sinless paradise in our dimension of time and space. Rather, he looked ahead to the glorious eventual New Creation yet to come, an ultimate “greater good.”
These ideas are not offered as answers to all aspects of the question of God’s divine master plan. Instead, they are offered as considerations. Our God has established the present dimensions of time, space, matter, and energy to fulfill his specific purposes. Scripture offers instruction about how humanity fulfills God’s plan in the created physical dimensions surrounding us every moment of our lives. He gifts us with ability to discover scientifically the historical and current realities of the physical world. In contrast, the Word of God primarily offers instruction for the relationship of God and man in the spiritual realm.